More than one hundred dogs have been removed from the home of a Tomball area optometrist accused of hoarding collies.
The ordeal began last Friday when a judge signed an order allowing Houston Collie Rescue to remove the dogs from the home of Dr. Elaine Kmiec.
"She's using aliases to creep on established collie rescue groups," Houston Collie Rescue president Vickey Willard tells KHOU.
This isn't the first time the doctor has been accused of hoarding dogs.
Animal activists allege Kmiec has at least four aliases at various rescue shelters to collect the collies. Volunteers seized 19 collies and seven cats when they returned to the home on Thursday, bringing the total number of dogs in custody to 139.
When Kmiec appeared in front of Judge David Jones in bankruptcy court on Thursday morning, she admitted to lying during her previous court appearance when she testified that she only had 35 dogs.
The volunteers responsible for removing the dogs described the conditions of Kmiec's home as "filthy beyond belief," and neighbors in the area have been pitching in to help remove the collies.
"You see these people working themselves to death. So finally they said, 'Can you help?' We said yes," neighbor Cody Harris tells KHOU.
Harris was one of the neighbors who assisted in removing the dogs from the home. Others have helped out however they can, including lending a large horse trailer to help transport the animals.
Kmiec's attorney has requested to be removed from the case, citing a failure to communicate with the client and a conflict of interest, according to court documents.
As shocking as it may be, this isn't the first time Kmiec has been accused of hoarding dogs.
She was involved in a lawsuit with Kara Kauffman who had sold three collies to her in 2013. Court documents show that Kmiec used a false name — "Shiela Kopman" — to enter into the contract with Kauffman for the dogs she received. Kmiec employed the fake name to hide the fact that she was the subject of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation. The investigation ultimately resulted in her turning over more than 50 collies to authorities just a few years ago. When Kauffman learned of Kmiec's fraudulent behavior, she sued for the return of the dogs.
The latest doctor hoarded dogs, who were reportedly underweight and covered in fleas, are now receiving treatment from volunteers such as veterinarian Babbi Dilbeck who traveled from Tennessee to help care for the large number of animals in need. Dr. Dilbeck expressed her confidence the dogs will recover, including the sickest one who is suffering from a severe skin infection.
Houston Collie Rescue says it has already spent $37,000 to help the dogs regain their health, and expects to spend a great deal more.
At least one hundred people have already signed up to give the collies new homes.